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What is a Toner Cartridge?

The toner cartridge is the part of a laser printer that contains the toner that will be used to create text and images on the paper. Toner cartridges come in four different colors – cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

Toner is a dry powder with plastic components that enable it to stick to the drum and to the paper once the toner is electrically charged. Each color has a separate cartridge and needs to be replaced every few thousand pages, depending on the print load and the size of the cartridge.

Toner cartridges come in OEM and compatible versions. OEM stands for original equipment manufacturer, meaning that the cartridges are made by the same company as your printer. Compatible cartridges are new cartridges, not recycled, that have been made by a third-party manufacturer.

Your printer will let you know when you are running low on toner and which color(s) need to be replaced. The pages being printed will also look faded and stripes and spots will occasionally appear.